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March 20, 2013

Poll Shows Shift in Support of Gay Marriage

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Teachers: this video includes a 3-minute story followed by a discussion

A new survey shows that a majority of Americans, 58 percent, now support allowing same-sex couples to marry. This is a dramatic shift from just seven years ago, when 58 percent of Americans said they opposed gay marriage. The new poll was conducted by the Washington Post and ABC News.

The shift has been most visible among some political leaders, now of both parties, who have publicly taken a stand to support legal marriage for same-sex couples.

“At a certain point, I have just concluded that, for me personally, it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married,” President Barack Obama said in 2012.

Recently, Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio became the first Senate Republican to announce his support, after revealing that his son came out to him two years ago.

“And that launched an interesting process for me, which was rethinking my position, talking to my pastor and other religious leaders, and going through a process of, at the end, changing my position on the issue,” he said.

Former President Bill Clinton has called on the Supreme Court to overturn the federal ban on same-sex marriage he signed in 1996, and the justices will soon deliberate California’s ban, known as Prop 8. While opposition to Prop 8 has usually come from Democrats, more than 100 Republicans have signed a legal brief that argues for the reversal of the California law.


“That’s why I support marriage for lesbian and gay couples. I support it personally and as a matter of policy and law, embedded in a broader effort to advance equality and opportunity for LGBT Americans and all Americans,” – Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“I appreciate that he’s decided to change his views on this. But I believe that marriage is a union of a man and a woman,” – Rep. John Boehner, R – Ohio.

Warm up questions

1. What is the definition of marriage?

2. What are some of the arguments for and against same-sex marriage?

3. Why is marriage a political issue?

Discussion questions

1. Do you support gay marriage? Why or why not?

2. Why do you think there has been such a dramatic shift on support for gay marriage in recent years?

3. Do you think gay marriage will be a significant issue in upcoming elections? Why or why not?

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